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November 25, 2013
Xavier Torches Nets Again in Blowout Win
It was a sluggish start for the X-men but Xavier improved to 5-0 with a 93-65 win over Abilene Christian behind 17 points, 6 assists from Semaj Christon and 15 points from Myles Davis, all coming from outside.
Hot shooting kept the ACU Wildcats in the game for the first 4 minutes as they led 8-6 before an Isaiah Philmore lay up tied the game heading in to the first media timeout.. The play of Justin Martin helped pace the Muskies as he had 5 straight to keep Abilene Christian from building any sort of lead while X struggled early from the line going 2-6.
Out of the media timeout X would continue their run, building a 14-8 lead, capping off an 8-0 run with a nice take to the rim by sophomore Semaj Christon. Christon would finish with 9 first half points.
ACU wasn't ready to give in just yet, however, as a 3 pointer by Harrison Hawkins and two free throws by LaDarrien Williams pulled the Wildcats to within 1 at the 12:53 mark at 14:13.
Over the next 5 minutes, the Wildcats would go cold as Xavier would hold the Division III squad to 0-6 shooting, leading to an 11-0 run. The run was started with a James Farr basket inside, followed by 4 of the next 6 points by Semaj Christon, then a 3 pointer by Myles Davies on his first attempt of the game, coming off the bench. Matt Stainbrook capped the run at the under 8 media timeout with a jumper to extend the lead to 12 at 25-13 at the 7:46 mark.
Stainbrook finished with first half with 7 points, 5 rebounds.
The scrappy Wildcats continued to play hard, though as they would go on a 7-2 run to close the gap to 27-20 with 5:54 to play in the first half.
Over the next 3 minutes, it was back and forth as Abilen was able to get lay up after lay up, despite James Farr and Semaj Christon dominating in the paint at the other end, either getting to the rim for easy baskets, or in Farr's case, cleaning up a miss with a tip in. A Myles Davis 3 would extend the lead back to double figures at 10 with 2:17 left in the first half.
Coming out of a timeout, the Wildcats were able to close the game to within 6 at 37-31 after a LeDarrien Williams 3 and Alek Milosavljevic jumper. A Justin Martin tip in with 9 seconds left sent Coach Mack's group in to the locker room with an 8 point lead at 39-31.
Despite the close first half, Xavier dominated around the rim with a 20-11 rebounding advantage and 26 points in the paint, finishing 16-29 for 55% from the field. It was the outside shooting of the Wildcats (5-11) that helped keep it close, as well as going 11-26 for 42% from the field, despite being undersized. The Muskies free throw shooting (5-11) also didn't help matters.
The second half would start much like the first half ende with a run by Abilene Christian. A free throw and a bucket down low by Jacob Lancaster helped pull the Wildcats to within 5 at the 18:56 mark.
The Muskies would extend their lead back to 8 with a Philmore free throw and Stainbrook offensive rebound and put back but nice ball movement by ACU at the other end led to another 3 by Parker Wentz to make it a 5 point game once again.
A Justin Martin jumper followed by an acrobatic finish by Semaj Christon at the other end sent the Muskies in to the first media timeout with a 9 point lead at 46-37.
Out of the media timeout it was all X as they never abandoned their game plan, extending their lead to 16 with two James Farr free throws, a Brandon Randolph free thow, a Christon lay up, and nice effort on the offense glass by Randolph for a put back to make the score 53-37 with 14:57 to play.
A Hawkins 3 for ACU would stop the run and give him his first points of the second half to up his point total to 13.
Steady play by Semaj Christon and James Farr, would keep ACU from making any serious run as a Myles Davis 3 extended with Xavier lead to 17 at 62-45 with 11 minutes to play.
The Wildcats would make one more push but another Myles Davis 3 and Jaylen Reynolds alley oop dunk, followed by Davis' 5th three pointer of the night and a Christon one hand dunk would extend the lead to 26 at 72-46.
At the end of the night, it was the Musketeers depth that gradually wore the Wildcats down, as 4 players finished in double figures, while 8 finished with 7 or more points.
Xavier's bench combined for 38 points, 22 rebounds with James Farr having 14 points, 8 rebounds, Jaylen Reynolds 11 points, 7 rebounds, and Brandon Randolph adding 8 points 4 rebounds to go along with Myles Davis' 5-7 shooting performance form outside.
As a team, Xavier was 33-57 (57.9%) from the field and 6-13 from outside (46.2%) while scoring 50 points in the paint compared to 20 for Abilene Christian. The X-Men out rebounded the Wildcats 45-21 and had just 8 turnovers for the game.
Abilene was led by Harrison Hawkins' 15 points.
The one area of concern for Coach Mack's group continues to be the free throw shooting, as they finished 21 of 36 for 58%. Both James Farr and Matt Stainbrook combined for 9-9 for a perfect night from the line.
Stainbrook finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds, while Justin Martin had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and Isaiah Philmore finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds.
Things will get tougher for the Muskies going forward as they will open the Battle of Atlantis with Iowa Thanksgiving day and then take on either UTEP or Tennessee in the following round.